APRIL, 2005

omnibus society inc., po box 9801, wellington, nz



*A TRIP IN 3583 TO CITYLINE  HUTT DEPOT is planned for Sunday, 24 April, 2004. This will take in the remnants of the Eastbourne Depot and, if time permits, Wainuiomata and Stokes Valley. It will depart Karori Depot at 10.00 am. 3583 is the preferred and most appropriate vehicle for this trip, but, of course, using it depends on availability. Pick-ups on request may be possible. Please phone Michael Berry (479 3111) if you’re interested, want to be picked up, and/or for any other information. Non-members are welcome and the usual costs apply - $10 for members and $15 for non-members.


* A VISIT TO THE OLD TIME CINEMA, LYALL BAY is planned for Saturday, 30 July, 2004. Movie and dinner would be $25 per head. Those interested should contact Morris Moller (475 9467) by 16 July.



Subscription unpaid?  Some subs are still unpaid. Treasurer, Morris Moller, would appreciate hearing from you. Sub forms were sent out earlier but, if you need one, ask either Morris (475 9467) or Henry (476 7278) to send you one. Subs are $25.00 per year or $12.50 for non-earners.


OUR FLEET…Thanks to Henry Brittain

            Leyland Beaver Truck – the hydraulic hose pipe to the power steering unit is leaking. It is being replaced.

            119 – the rear brake shoes on this BUT trolley are being replaced. Once this is done, the vehicle will be mobile again.

            Trolleys for parts – not exactly fleet items but relevant here. We have been offered two trolley buses as a source of parts. They are BUTs 92 (English MCW bodywork) at Trentham and 112 (NZMB bodywork) at Levin. Both will be inspected on site so we can see what is salvageable from them before deciding their fate.

NB Our fleet needs constant care. Tuesday work nights at Karori Depot could use more people. If you don’t mind getting your hands a bit dirty, and, irrespective of whether or not you have any particular expertise, the small dedicated team of regulars would welcome your presence and support.


          OBSERVATIONS…Thanks to Graeme Inwood, Stan White, Anthony Greaney, Peter Thompson, Gerard Cooper


            AUCKLAND – Stagecoach – Peter T. comments on the large number of 2400-series, 51-seat, tag-axle MAN 17.223 there are now and provides the following which continues the details so far published in Running SheeT: 2415/ CGF 518; 2416/ CGF 520; 2417/ CGL 207; 2418/ CGL 219; 2419/ CGQ 801; 2420/ CGQ 804; 2421/ CGQ 812; 2422/ CGQ 813; 2423/ CGQ 815; 2424/ CHE 847; 2425/ CHE 858 are all at Shore Depot.  2426/ CKJ 348; 2427/ CKJ 349; 2428/ CKJ 375; and 2429/ CKJ 376 are all in dedicated livery for Remuera Rider services.

2430/ CKY 967; 2431/  CKY 969; 2432/  CLJ 74; 2433/ CLJ 78; 2434/ CLT 711; 2435/ CLT 712 are all at City Depot.  2436/ CMF 430; 2437/ CMF 432; 2438/ CML 343; 2439/ CML 344; 2440/ CML 345; 2441/ CNE 136; 2442/ CNE 138; 2443/ CNR 583; 2444/ CNR 591; 2445/ CNR 604; 2446/ CNR 605; 2447/ CPC 191; 2448/ CPC 199; 2449/ CPG 39; 2450/ CPG 40 are all at Wiri Depot. (See also the Wellington section.)

All Leopards and many M-B 0305s have been sold out of the fleet.


            CHRISTCHURCH – Gerard reports that, at the end of last year, Christchurch Bus Services were successful in obtaining all available tenders as follows: 60 Parklands/New Brighton (ex Redbus); 70 Queenspark (ex Leopard); and The Orbiter (ex Leopard). However, it was decided to hand back the latter route so Leopard were successful in retaining it. CBS have four MAN 15.220 51-seaters being built at Kiwi for these services, and a further sixteen Optare Excels coming from Trent Barton in the UK. This was because Designline was committed to a large Stagecoach order hence the need to look elsewhere. In NZ, these imports will go to Kiwi for any modifications required for NZ regulations. On 7 April, the first Excel was at Kiwi and the bodies were on the MANs. (BUSES Magazine, UK, for April, reported twenty Trent Barton Excels being in store prior to going to NZ – if all 20 are coming here, where are the other four going? Incidentally, the May issue of BUSES reports Blackpool Transport having reliability problems with its eleven used Optare Excels. – Ed.)

Another tender round is under way at present, with results known next month. Routes included are: 5 Southshore/New Brighton/Hornby/Templeton; 42 Avondale; 43 Burwood; 51 Aranui; 81/82 Lincoln; 83 Hei Hei; 84 Russley; Hornby to Lincoln Shuttle; and Burnham via Rolleston. Under the proposed changes, the 83 and 43 will link up, and so will the 84 and 42. Shuttles will run between Hornby Mall and Lincoln as at present, Templeton and Prisons, and Rolleston and Burnham. Burnham will still have services ex the city for peak times.


HAWKES BAYNimons – Anthony notes a new purchase with an interesting history - it is 6/ZH 6548, Volvo B10M, Van Hool, B51D, purchased 2/05 ex Leopard C/L, Christchurch. It was originally built for Singapore Bus Service by Van Hool as a trial for SBS to test different body styles on a standard chassis. No more were ordered, so the vehicle remained an orphan in the SBS fleet. By 1999, it was used for driver training only. It was imported into NZ by ACS in 2000, where it was purchased by Leopard as its 15. In early 2002, it was sold to Torlesse Travel, Christchurch, where it remained until late 2004 when it was repurchased by Leopard as a stopgap to cover a temporary vehicle shortage, and became their 65.

Also purchased, in 1/05, was 2/BNC 409, 1992 Mitsubishi Fuso MP618KUR, B23F. It was imported from Japan in 2003, but its interim use and ownership are unknown. Can anyone shed light here?

Anthony also comments on Nimon’s dramatic personnel changes over the last six months in all areas, some having left for personal reasons and others having been head-hunted by other operators. Changes to the administration staff have been so complete that all the old staff are gone, including everyone’s best-known contact, Grant Taylor. For enthusiasts, it has become virtually “virgin” territory again. So, Anthony says, be warned. Anyone going to Nimons will not necessarily be automatically recognised. Be prepared to explain who you are, what you are doing, what the Omnibus Society is about and so on.


            ROTORUA – After timetable and service changes in July, 2004, the Cityride buses run by Reesbys have carried more than 150,000 people, more apparently than the whole of the previous year. Cash fares have risen slightly but smartcard fares have dropped. Your Editor, in Rotorua at Easter, was impressed with the timekeeping, loadings and cleanliness of vehicles as they arrived and departed on their half-hourly schedule from the Pukuatua St. town terminal. The brightish pale green Mitsubishi Rosas are a noticeable presence in the townscape. I also noticed one of the two small ex Hong Kong 1998 MAN 10.180s (12/ CCG 732) in the Cityride colours and in service. (Thanks to Stan for providing the vehicle identity here.)


            WELLINGTON – Stagecoach – Trolleybuses – Despite being reported in The Dominion Post of 1 April, (note date), the future of Wellington’s trolley buses looks assured with LTNZ contributing an extra $7.5m over the next 10 years towards the cost of the 60 new vehicles. However, this cash will come from January’s Government-provided package for Wellington’s transport needs and none from a national fund, inspiring some comments that other projects in Wellington will probably be pushed down the list of priorities. Nevertheless, many groups and individuals (including me!) have welcomed the decision. Relevant to this, Graeme reports that 301 came back from Designline on Mon. 4 April and is back on the road. Graeme is off to inspect 302 and 303 at Designline on 12 April. On Tues. 8 March, trolley 251 struck the rear of Newlands Volvo B7 127 during the peak hour, losing both its windscreens and causing some damage to the Volvo’s engine. On a brighter note, Graeme has driven “test-bed” trolley 264 recently and notes that the new poles, pole bases and other roof-top improvements enable much greater cornering speeds without dewiring. This, of course, has implications for the new fleet.

Further trolley details have come from Graeme, also, as follows: 301 re-entered service on 5 April.

Hot off the email! - Graeme, as part of a S/C group, visited Designline, Ashburton, on 12 April. 302 and 303 were in different stages of construction, completion of both being due for 29 April. A week’s testing will be done in Ashburton before shipping to Wellington on 2 May. Then follows two weeks of on-road testing before going into service and driver training. The pair look like 301 except for normal folding doors instead of plug doors. They will have the new pole bases, poles, and retrieval system fitted. They also have completely new electronics. Graeme comments that 301 was built as a trial bus, and 264 rebuilt as a test-bed unit, so both may have short lives (especially the latter! – Ed.).  304 to 360 will be three-axle 51-seaters similar to the current 1400/2400 diesels.

Speaking of diesels, there are apparently nine new 2400s for Wellington, starting with 2452, in service from 18 April. There are plans, but no dates, says Graeme, for five more 2400s for the orange Flyer service to replace the aging B10s.

The only 400 Leopard left is, of course, 401, parked where Graeme left it after their joint starring roles in the NZ short film Baggage. There is still no definitive word on whether it is going to go to a UK bus museum, as has been rumoured.

Mana Coach Services (Kapiti Depot) – Newlands 143/ NCS 43, 1989 Hino RG197 34-seat coach is at Kapiti Depot for engine repairs. Leyland Tiger coach, 135/ NCS 35, has had its engine repaired and is in use again as a charter vehicle. M-B 0302 46, still in use, though sold, has a blown exhaust – sounded like an original unsilenced DA loco to your Editor when he heard it returning disgraced to the Depot! Most impressive!

Kapiti 4 Seasons Tours – it seems that proprietor, Trevor Fitzgeorge, has indeed bought refurbished ex-CTB Bristol RELL 608, originally restored in ex-Ribble Motor Services (UK) red and white by Don Roberts. It does not carry the Ribble fleetname as it did for a while but it still bears the CTB F/N. When I last saw it, I noticed that it had been converted to a single front entrance/exit, at some stage, and was displaying the interesting destination “UNOWHERE”!



            Mike Secker, 63 Glen Road, Raumati South, Kapiti  6010.  Ph: (04) 902 1173  Fax: (04) 902 1174  Mob: 027 426 7901




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